Dengue in PH: worse still ahead, says DOH-7 official

Photo shows the logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO, according to a regional Department of Health official, has called on health authorities to put an end to the ongoing trend of the number of dengue cases rising every two years. PHOTO: Reuters

Alarm has been raised over Bohol amid the increasing number of dengue cases but worse could still be ahead for the province, and the rest of the country, if “aggressive” measures to combat the dreaded viral disease are not implemented.

According to Department of Health (DOH) 7 medical officer Dr. Ronald Buscato, 2019 could be the dengue “epidemic year” for the Philippines based on historical trend.

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“Historically, every two years man gud mo-saka ang cases. Actually challenge sad na sa World Health Organization namo nga ‘please try to stop this trend’,” said Buscato who was in Tagbilaran City Thursday last week for a dengue forum.

In Bohol, authorities have recorded 2,057 dengue cases with 37 deaths from January 1 to November 8, 2018.

The figure is 125 percent higher than the 912 cases with eight deaths recorded in the same period last year.

Buscato said that the use of chemicals through misting can now be implemented as part of aggressive means to control the spread of dengue.

The misting will be carried out in four cycles for an entire month together with “search and destroy” and IEC (information, education and communication) activities.

“Kay taas naman g’yud ta kaayo’g kaso, magpadayon ta sa atong 4S, pero karon, it’s high time na mag-agresibo na ta. Based sa atong guidelines, pwede na ta mo-gamit og chemicals,” he said.

Buscato however noted the need for proper coordination between local government units and the public to effectively implement the measure.

“Sa misting, hilanglan g’yud nato cooperation sa tanang taw kay kung dili gyud mo cooperate tanan, bisag na-mist nato halos tanang balay sa area, og naay usa na mo-balibad ‘nya naay daghang lamok didto, posibli na mo katag ra gihapon ang lamok. Dali ra kaayo maka-breed ang lamok, mura’g useless ra gihapon ang atoang misting,” he added.

The DOH official also highlighted the importance of individual efforts to prevent life-threatening complications of dengue and the spread of virus-carrying mosquitoes through the 4S strategy which involves searching and destroying mosquito breeding places; securing self-protection; seeking early consultation; and supporting fogging and spraying in hotspot place.

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever so far.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), patients should seek medical advice, rest and drink plenty of fluids.

“When warning signs of severe dengue are present, it is imperative to consult a doctor and seek hospitalization to manage the disease,” the WHO said.

In 2016, a vaccine for dengue, Dengvaxia, was rolled out in the country but it was later rocked with controversy.

The vaccine program which was started during the Aquino administration was suspended last year after Dengvaxia manufacturer, pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, warned that those immunized with Dengvaxia, but did not have a prior dengue infection, could contract more severe dengue symptoms.

However, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in October, this year recommended granting a marketing authorization for Dengvaxia in the European Union (EU).

CHMP, in an opinion, labeled Dengvaxia as the first vaccine in the EU “for the prevention of dengue disease caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4 in people who are between 9 and 45 years old, live in an endemic area and already had a prior dengue virus infection.”

CHMP is the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) committee responsible for human medicines.

According to the EMA, the CHMP plays a vital role in the authorization of medicines in the EU. (AD)



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